CIVICUS at the UN Office In Geneva

The United Nations system in Geneva includes a large number of intergovernmental organisations, specialised agencies, programmes, funds, offices and research institutes as well as related organisations. Two thirds of the activities of the United Nations system takes place in Geneva, making it a key centre of international co-operation and multilateral negotiation. CIVICUS’ main focus currently concentrates on the human rights mechanisms, most notably the Human Rights Council and its subsidiary bodies such as the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and Special Procedures, but also on the Treaty bodies. CIVICUS also works closely with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

For more information on our line of work at UN Headquarters, please contact renate.bloemATcivicus.org or tor.hodenfieldATcivicus.org 

Human Rights Council

UN Human Rights Council

The UN Human Rights Council (UN HRC) is the United Nation’s preeminent human rights body. Established in 2006, it is mandated to address all thematic human rights issues and situations that require its attention and make recommendations on them. The UN HRC, which is seated in Geneva, holds no fewer than three regular sessions a year including in March, June and September.

Operating under the auspices of the UN Human Rights Council, the Universal Periodic Review requires the examination of the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States every 4.5 years. Using international human rights law including the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights treaties to which the State is party as its benchmark, the primary objective of the UPR is to support States to improve the human rights situations in their country.

During UN Human Rights Council sessions, CIVICUS and its partners make and support interventions to address a diverse range of thematic and county specific recommendations to advance the causes and health of civil society. CIVICUS further organises a number of thematic and country specific side events to draw attention to acute restrictions on civil society, human rights defenders and fundamental democratic freedoms. In addition, CIVICUS issues several oral statements and advocacy letters calling on the Council to address persistent violations of basic human rights.

24th Session (September 2013) | 25th Session (March 2014) | 26th Session (June 2014) | 27th Session (September 2014) | 28th Session (March 2015) | 29th Session (June 2015) | 30th Session (September 2015) | 31st Session (March 2016) | 32nd Session (June 2016) | 33rd Session (September 2016) | 34th Session (March 2017) | 35th Session (June 2017) 



CIVICUS and partners produce a number of advocacy statements at the UN Human Rights Council on issues concerning the rights of civil society.  Below is a breakdown:

Statements at the 35th Session of the Human Rights Council

Statements at the 34th Session of the Human Rights Council

Statements at the 33rd Session of the Human Rights Council

Universal Periodic Review

CIVICUS Universal Periodic Review Submissions

CIVICUS’ joint and stand-alone UN Universal Period Review (UPR) submissions on restrictions on the rights to freedom of assembly, association and expression and persecution of human rights defenders (HRDs). The submissions, on over 60 countries, also provide a number of substantive recommendations to support the creation and maintenance of a safe and enabling environment for civil society.

-Pre-Universal Periodic Review consultation toolkit: Strategies for civil society advocacy, research & coordination
-Post-Universal Periodic Review consultation toolkit: Strategies for civil society advocacy, research & coordination

UPR submissions from the 2nd cycle (2012-2016)

Azerbaijan | Afghanistan |  Bangladesh |  Belarus | Bolivia | Burundi | Burkina Faso | Cambodia | Central African Republic | China | Colombia | Cote d’Ivoire | Democratic Republic of Congo | Egypt | Ethiopia | Eritrea | Honduras | Hungary | Iran | Israel | Jordan | Liberia | Kenya | Kuwait | Malawi |  Malaysia | Maldives | Mauritania | Mexico | Mozambique | Myanmar | Nepal | Nicaragua | Niger | Nigeria | Pakistan | Qatar | Oman | Russia | Rwanda | Serbia | Sierra Leone | Singapore | Somalia | Sudan | Swaziland | South Sudan | Syria | The Gambia | Tanzania | Thailand | Togo | Turkey | Turkmenistan | Uganda | United States of America | Uzbekistan | Venezuela | Vietnam | Yemen | Zimbabwe  

UPR submissions from the 3rd cycle (2017-2021)

Algeria | Bangladesh | Benin | Bahrain | Brazil | Burkina Faso | Burundi | Cameroon | Colombia | Cuba | Djibouti | Ecuador | France |  Gabon | GuatemalaIndia | Indonesia | Israel | Morocco | Pakistan | Peruthe Philippines | Poland | Russia | Republic of KoreaSerbia | South Africa | Sri LankaTunisia | Turkmenistan | Ukraine | United Arab Emirates | Uzbekistan Zambia   



Enhancing the effectiveness of the UN Universal Periodic Review: A civil society perspective

CIVICUS examines the experiences of civil society groups from across the world in engaging with the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The report, based on interviews with civil society leaders operating in diverse regions of the globe, provides a number of substantive recommendations to strengthen the UPR process to support the creation of a safe and enabling environment for civil society to promote and protect human rights.

Consultation Report: How to Create and Maintain Civil Society Space. What Works? Sub-Saharan Africa

As part of a series of regional consultations on the space and environment for civil society, CIVICUS, under the auspices of the Civic Space Initiative (CSI), convened a civil society consultation with a diverse coalition of civil society representatives from 26 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Submission to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights – Civil Society Space Report

This submission includes CIVICUS´ view of how civic space can be enabled, created and maintained; a brief summary of some positive developments and trends related to civic space; some examples of how CSOs operate when space is limited.

Reporting human rights violations to UN Special Procedures: An introductory guide

Civil society representatives and human rights activists can interact directly with UN Special Procedures by: submitting individual cases of human rights abuses; providing information and analysis on specific concerns; working locally to advocate, disseminate and follow up on the work of UN Special Procedures; working closely with other civil society actors and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) on the ground.

March 14, 2018

Statement at the UN Human Rights Council: Attacks on civic space in Burundi

in Geneva

Interactive Dialogue with the UN Commission of Inquiry on on Burundi Oral Statement We remain extremely concerned by the grave human rights violations taking…
March 12, 2018

Statement at UN Human Rights Council: Citizen rights in Eritrea

in Geneva

37th Session of the UN Human Rights Council  Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Eritrea Oral Intervention by CIVICUS and DefendDefenders The government…
March 12, 2018

CIVICUS at the 37th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

in Geneva

The opening week of the 37th Session of the UN Human Rights Council will commence with the high level segment which will include approximately 99 high…
March 10, 2018

Statement to the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights: Countries on the civic space watchlist

in Geneva

37th Session of the Human Rights Council Oral statement at Interactive Dialogue with UN High Commissioner on Human Rights CIVICUS commends the High Commissioner…
March 10, 2018

Statement at the UN Human Rights Council: Global trends on civic space

in Geneva

37th Session of the Human Rights Council Oral statement Across the globe, CIVICUS has observed a pattern of judicial persecution, smear campaigns, threats, intimidation,…


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